There may be no magic money tree – but Labour cares
There’s no magic money tree. No Government to protect you.
Your dream of owning a home is spinning into a living nightmare as interest rates rose again last week, for the thirteenth time in just eighteen months. They are now at five per cent, and this may not be the peak. Family budgets have been squeezed even harder, and are struggling to withstand the pressure.
If you have worked hard to save for your deposit, and just managed to make the numbers add up to afford the monthly payments, then you will feel the heat as you switch from a fixed-rate mortgage – as 1.5 million households will this year, and a further 1.6 million next.
Government have few plans. A voluntary charter and some temporary relief schemes, but ones for which you will have to pay in the end, all while lenders are recording record profits and savers seeing no benefit.
There should, of course, be a comprehensive plan to protect you and your property. The economy is spiralling out of control and the Prime Minister, despite promising to halve inflation this year, is at a loss at what to do. He is just saying hold on and whether the storm. He may be able to endure this – his net worth is £730 – million but few others can.
At the same time as he’s suppressing wages and turning his back on workers crying out for a cost-of-living increase, he has done nothing to account for the exploding wealth of those at the top of the ladder.
Meanwhile, if you privately rent your home, as landlord mortgage costs rise, so do rents. We are seeing more and more people trapped into housing poverty and debt. Something I raised with the Chancellor on Monday. He had no response.
Last week, York was highlighted as having the greatest disparity between rent and housing allowance for those that qualify for Local Housing Allowance, due to low wages. This affects people’s housing benefits and it means that rents are not affordable, and they are having to supplement them despite having no money to do so.
So you fall behind on your rent and your landlord, with no obligations to cap their demands or protect your home, serves notice. There is no social housing to move to as the last local administration prioritised luxury build over essential build.
Where are all these people to live? It breaks my heart to think of the number of homeless people we will have on our streets if we do not act. We are back in the 80s, when Thatcher abandoned people to sink or swim.
Worse, the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill, something Labour has been calling for ever since I entered Parliament eight years ago, has yet to emerge; another broken Tory promise. The market has failed and you have been failed.
But all is not despair. You elected a Labour administration in York last month, one that understands the pressures of people across our community and with the determination to do something about it; to build social and truly affordable housing.
Now at the helm, Labour is already working apace to build a new generation of homes to meet real need, bringing the housing market back under control. Meanwhile, a Labour Government is on its way, if you vote for change, and our Shadow Cabinet have already highlighted the importance of house building.
If we go back to Nye Bevan, the Health and Housing Secretary of that radical and reforming 1945 Government, he made sure that everyone was housing secure. He built the homes ‘fit for heroes’ and looked after their occupants (all while he formed the NHS, 75 years ago next week).
Meanwhile, while the Chancellor has failed to offer solutions, and the Prime Minister has failed to recognise the depth of this crisis, Labour is standing by ready to fix the housing crisis and the economy. We will protect families from repossessions and give people security for their futures.
As the Prime Minister ignores the extent of economic and personal consequences, blaming every world event for this, as opposed to owning it and finding solutions, he pretends all is well.
From his vantage point, where he has never had to worry about these things, he is so detached from the lives of ordinary people. Ironically he enjoys the properties of Downing Street or his country manor at Chequers, which the rest of us contribute to, while owning a property portfolio himself.
When food, energy, fuel, rent and now mortgages are clearing out the household budget, when people who have worked hard and played by the rules cannot afford to keep a roof over their head, we need a Government which will move sharply to protect you.
There is no money tree but the purpose of Government is to act.
Labour always will because we believe that is what Government is for. More importantly perhaps, Labour care.